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Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

Staphylococcus Aureus is an organism that is found on many healthy individual's skins and in their noses.

It is harmless at these sites and causes no major problems. Problems only arise when the organism enters the body through cuts, wounds, abrasions, indwelling catheter sites or surgical incisions and causes infection.

MRSA infections were previously treated with Methicillin which caused some of these organisms to become resistant to this antibiotic. The resistant strains of this organism are commonly known as MRSA or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

MRSA infections most commonly occur with patients in hospital, but can also be found on patients not in hospital. Like Staphylococcus Aureus, the MRSA organism does not cause any problems until it enters the body.

In order for the prevention of MRSA in hospitals, patients that are shown to have MRSA are isolated. Hospital staff need to take strict precautions for all patients i.e. frequent hand washing and wear gloves and gowns. This is known as infection control.

MRSA is diagnosed by taking swabs of the area (wound, skin, drain sites, nose etc) and sending them to the microbiology laboratory.

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